Holy Week revisited

Alas in my plentiful lack of free time during Holy Week, I was not able to post any of the fine photos made available to be by the kindness of a parishoner, of the ceremonies at St. Agnes Church in St. Paul, MN.  This is my "home parish", in the sense that it is where I entered the Catholic Church.  I return when I can to St. Agnes for the great feasts, even though I have the option of being in Rome most of the time.  What happens at St. Agnes is amazing.

At any rate, here is a shot from one of the regular parish Masses on Palm Sunday during which the undersigned is blessing the palms already distributed.   This was not the principle Mass at 10:00 am, mind you.  That Mass was in Latin, with Gregorian chant and polyphony, with a fine procession around the church as the ancient chants were sung.  The Mass in the photo was at noon and was in English.  You will note the images are covered.  The large statues in purple are of Sts. Peter and Paul.  Because it is Palm Sunday some of the drapes have been changed to red.

Blessing palms on Palm Sunday

On each day of the Triduum, all of the service called Tenebrae is sung in Latin, from the Liber Usualis.  As each psalm is concluded a candle on the hearse is extinguished. 


In each nocturn of Matins there are readings followed by responsories, which are the most beautiful of all the collection of Gregorian chant we have, in my opinion.  For the first nocturn on each of the three days, the readings are chanted from the Lamentations of Jeremiah.  Here is an audio clip of the first Lamentation on Good Friday followed by its responsory.  This is an mp3, about 7.7 megs.

I don’t yet have photos from this year’s Holy Thursday Mass, but here are some of the undersigned from last year.

No female feet anywhere in sight…

The Mandatum 

Some torch bearers…

Torch bearers 

"Pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum…"

Consecration of the Precious Blood

"Ecce, Agnus Dei!"

Ecce Agnus Dei 

At St. Agnes Holy Communion is received kneeling and on the tongue.  The congregation uses the Communion rail and only… only … priests and deacons distribute.  The Church seats about 1500 people and Communion moves along very smoothly.  Here, however, an altar boys receives in the customary fashion.


The procession to the altar of respose, while the Pange lingua is sung by the congregation in Latin.


After the Blessed Sacrament is reposed, the altar is stripped as the schola cantorum chants the Miserere in low recto tono.


Altar is stripped 

People visit the altar of repose until the church is closed at midnight.  Until midnight confessions are heard.

Altar of repose 

The ceremonies are all Novus Ordo.  I will post more as I am able.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. CaesarMagnus says:

    Wow, very impressive. Very sharp. Great church as well. While our “liturgical
    space” at our parish is not the best environment, at least it is basilica style.
    We were able to make due.

    I do have a rubric question that one of the pictures reminded me of: I am sure
    there is a technical difference between “candles” (the ones used for procession)
    and “torches.” Is it wrong to use torches instead of candles for say, the
    Gospel reading? We use torches for the Gospel and we use torches at the
    Consecration and any time the Blessed Sacrament is outside the Tabernacle.
    Part of it has to do with the fact that we might not have older servers
    available to carry candles but all our altar boys can handle the torches (safely).

  2. M. Gallipoli says:

    Thank you, Father, for sharing these images and, I hope, more later. I assisted at Mass at St. Agnes only once in the 80s. The beauty and force of the liturgy left an indelible mark on my soul.

  3. CaesarMagnus: I don’t think there is any problem either way. In my opinion, however, wax candles are always the best choice.

  4. Sherri Larson says:

    Thank you, Father Zuhlsdorf, for posting these beautiful pictures of St. Agnes. My husband and I were married there ten years ago, and seeing St. Agnes in all its glory makes me wish our own boys could participate as torch bearers in those beautiful liturgies. If only there were such a church in every city. Happy Easter, Father.

  5. Maria Alejandra Hall says:

    Father, you have such a beautiful voice! The exultet was absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing your many gifts with us at St. Agnes. Loved the homilies, too.
    Happy Easter and a safe trip back to Rome.

  6. Andy Milam says:

    How do I miss St. Agnes. It being my “home parish” as well (I was formed in my traditional Catholic faith); I have always tried to make my heart think of the beauty of St. Agnes wehn I am not able to be there.

    For those who have never had the ability to assist at one of Fr. Z’s Masses something truly beautiful is being missed. He has an impeccable grasp of Latin (I believe he studied with Regianld Foster) and he moves fluidly between the Missa Normativa and the Tridentine. That is how it should be.

    Holy Week at St. Agnes is the most beautiful time of the year and if one has the chance ot get there, one should. It is an experience that one will never forget.

    God Bless.

  7. RP Burke says:

    But I see that the clergy at St. Agnes violate GIRM by adding something by their own accord that is not included in the rules:

    wearing maniples.

    The maniple is not on the list of vestments that priests or deacons wear during Mass (not listed in GIRM 119 or 335-345). So, therefore, since “the priest … is not permitted, on his own initiative, to add, to remove, or to change anything in the celebration of Mass,” (GIRM 24) the use of the maniple is as forbidden as a layperson preaching a homily (GIRM 66).

  8. Papabile says:


    A question, offered as a genuine inquiry.

    It seems that St. Agnes chooses to follow the options in the Pauline Rite so that it most closely resembles the Pian Rite (meaning 1965, with 1967 Tres abhinc annos emendations, while retaining maniple) that preceded it.

    With that said, I noted the picture of you that shows the elevation of the host at the Ecce agnus dei, and it was elevated over the paten.

    The editio typica tertia of the Pauline Rite restored raising the host over the chalice at the Ecce as an option. Is there a particular reason that St. Agnes uses this, or is it something they alter off and on?

    Just wondering. No personal preferenece or concerns.

    Text follows:

    84. The priest prepares himself by a prayer, said quietly, that he may fruitfully receive Christ’s Body and Blood. The faithful do the same, praying silently.

    The priest next shows the faithful the Eucharistic Bread, holding it above the paten or above the chalice, and invites them to the banquet of Christ. Along with the faithful, he then makes an act of humility using the prescribed words taken from the Gospels.

  9. Papabile: Thanks for the inquiry. Yes, the elevation of the Host over the chalice with the Precious Blood is an option. As a matter of fact, it occured to me this year, that it would be a good idea to use both elements at that moment, … so I did. The photos you see on the page here in this blog are actually from (I think) 2004. I haven’t received the photos from this year yet.

  10. RP Burke: Your wrote: “But I see that the clergy at St. Agnes violate GIRM by adding something by their own accord that is not included in the rules:
    wearing maniples.”

    Interesting point. I have had this discussion more than once. The conclusion I have obtained is that the use of the maniple is still okay. Even setting aside questions of custom, it is simply no longer oligatory to use the maniple, as once it was. So, at St. Agnes, if the vestments have their maniple, it is used. If not, no big deal. As a matter of fact, in the Palm Sunday picture at the top of this entry, I don’t think I have the maniple on.

  11. RP Burke says:

    I’m not sure I agree with your analysis, and in part it’s because conservatives rant all the time about things that progressives add to the Mass and the fact is that the rules apply to everyone. Is wearing a maniple the same grave matter as, say, using invalid matter? Of course not. But the rules apply to everyone, not just the progressives.

  12. Henry Edwards says:

    Of course not. But the rules apply to everyone, not just the progressives.

    Would that it were so! But it’s difficult to remember the last time I saw a liturgical rule applied to anything-goes “progressives”.

    So when I read your first maniple objection, I assumed it was an arcane attempt at humor of some sort. But now I suspect you’re serious. I really do.

  13. Tim Ferguson says:

    I’m of the informed opinion that the maniple, having not been explicitly suppressed (mention of it among the vestments of the ministers was simply omitted) is still validly and licitly utilized in celebrations of the Novus Ordo. However, even if we take Mr. (Ms.? apologies if I guess incorrectly) Burke’s opinion that the use of maniples in the liturgy is illicit, let’s draw up a scorecared: “conservatives” use maniples. “liberals” omit all use of Latin in the liturgy, attempt the consecration of pumpkin bread (yes, I’ve seen it), utilize “liturgical dance” and lay homilists, freely alter the words of the liturgy to the point of inventing eucharistic prayers on the spot, invoke Gaia in blessings, omit prayers at will (let’s skip the penitential rite or omit the Creed or the Gloria…), offer Mass on card tables…

    Again, I think there is sufficient evidence showing that the use of the maniple is not prohibited by the liturgical law in force. Mr. Burke is free to posit a question on the subject to the Congregation for Sacraments and Divine Worship for an interpretation. I have no doubt that, if a clear ruling on the matter is given to the effect that the use of maniples in the Novus Ordo Mass is, indeed, prohibited, it would take the clergy of St. Agnes less than 15 seconds to comply. Compare that to the “progressive” response to hierarchical discipline. No contest.

  14. RP Burke says:

    Not disagreeing in broad principle with Mr. Ferguson.

    But let’s see. The new GIRM gives no option to omit the Sign of Peace, and I know there are some places that still do omit that new-fangled thing.

    And there are right-wingers who demand to kneel at times when they should and their bishop has told them to stand — running crying to friends in the Vatican when they didn’t get their way.

    There are lots of valid options for celebrating the Mass but some that are being used today just aren’t. (Pumpkin bread? Really?? In the last 20 years???) And they are both super-progessive on the one hand and Angelicaist on the other.

    By the way, there are many specific statements from the Vatican that point out that you do not celebrate the new Mass in the way you celebrate the old (look at Notitiae). It’s a whole new set of rules written on a blank sheet of paper, the Congregation wrote, and you don’t fill in spaces with rules from the 1962 Mass.

    I’d like to see the “sufficient evidence” that makes my syllogism invalid, by the way.

  15. Henry Edwards says:

    But let’s see. The new GIRM gives no option to omit the Sign of Peace, and I know there are some places that still do omit that new-fangled thing.

    Wrong on both counts, I suspect. First, I’d be surprised to hear that the Rite of Peace is systematically omitted anywhere, and doubt that it is. As I read the missal, it consists of the priest saying “Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles: I leave you peace, my peace I give you. …..” To which the people respond “Amen.” Then the priest says “The peace of the Lord be with you always.” And the people respond (inaccurately), “And also with you.” Thus follows the Rite of Peace

    Then, as I understand it, the option that does exist is provided by the rubric which says

    Deinde, pro opportunitate, diaconus, vel sacerdos, subiungit:
    Then the deacon (or the priest) may add: (my emphasis)
    “Let us offer each other the sign of peace.”

    So the unfortunate general melee that sometimes occurs thereafter would, indeed, appear to be entirely optional. In reverence for the Body and Blood of Christ on the altar, it can be omitted. (Somebody please correct me, if I misunderstand this.)

  16. Greg Hessel says:


    How would the Triduum differ between the 1962 Missal and the Novus ORdo?

  17. proklos says:

    The only problem I have with all this is that St. Agnes follows the novus ordo. They maintain the traditional music of the mass it is true. But the novus ordo intended to get rid of this music. In the traditional rite each order participated in the mass after a hierarchical fashion. That is to say, each order had its own liturgy. The mass was conceived as a mirror of the heavenly liturgy in which the hierarchy of angels participated according to their rank. That meant that priest deacon, subdeacon acolytes, etc. carried out their liturgy. The priest read prayers peculiar to his liturgy, the deacon to his, and so forth. The congregation carried out their liturgy also, although they sometimes deputized their role to cantors and singers. If their was repetition between the priest’s liturgy and that of the congregation, it did not matter. You will see this pattern in all the ancient liturgies. The novus ordo however, intended to undermine the idea of hierarchy in the church. Hence, they reduced everyone’s liturgy to one. Priests and everyone have the same and equal liturgy. True enough the priest still has prayers but these are generally recited aloud so that attention must be focused on the same thing at all times. This means that the choral music sung at St. Agnes becomes like a sacred concert. The priests and everyone sits down and listens to the choir sing the ordinary of the mass which now takes the form of a sacred cantata. I suppose this is not strange to those raised in an Evngelical Lutheran tradition. It is however, most odd for Catholics. In terms of educating children in the mass it is of course disastrous because one is training them into egalitarian, Enlightenment Fundamentalism that the novus ordo intended to enshrine. By Pope Benedict XV’s own admission this is true. Vide his speech to the Curia in December. The only way to ensure Catholic orthodoxy is to suppress the novus ordo. I do not see this happening. So St. Agnes is simply an ethnic shrine to those German Catholics who resisted Bismark’s kulturkampf. In the 19th century this was the correct stand for Catholic orthodoxy. In the 21st the problem has shifted. And this makes St. Agnes a champion of Culturalism only, not Catholicism. The creed of culturalism: Europe is the Faith and the Faith is Europe. Last time I looked the Faith was Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. No better expression can be found for the latter than the traditional Western Rite Pope St. Pius V ratified by the Council of Trent. It was this rite that German Catholics fled their beloved homeland and came to this country to maintain. What happened?

  18. proklos says:

    Post Scriptum: Still the music is absolutely beautiful. Put on more clips.

  19. Tim Ferguson says:

    I bow to Henry Edwards who has suitably answered the question with regards to the Rite of Peace (which is not optional, though the shaking of hands amongst the congregation is entirely optional).

    The “right-wingers” (yes, it’s easy to castigate those we can safely put in categories and boxes, isn’t it, Mr. Burke?) whose desire to kneel is impeded by the questionably licit mandate of the diocesan bishop can vindicate their rights by appealing to the Vatican – apparently referred to as “running to their friends in the Vatican when they don’t get their way” in some crowds. I think the notion of the laity being intelligent enough and trusted enough to appeal to the Vatican to be a wonderful sign of progress endorsed by the Council. Some, it would seem, would rather have the laity shut up when their more educated bishops and liturgists pronounce on issues that don’t concern them… like the liturgy.

    Yes, pumpkin bread. It was October, after all.

    What in heaven’s name is an Angelicaist?

    I don’t see Fr. Zuhlsdorf or St. Agnes celebrating the Novus Ordo as they would celebrate the Tridentine Mass. Fr. Zuhlsdorf has an indult to offer Mass according to the 1962 Missal, and I know from the long-standing friendship I’m honored to share with him that he would not mix rituals of one Mass with the other. If you could point out to me those items of the “old Mass” that are being illegitimately brought into “the new Mass”, I’d be better equipped to respond.

    Your syllogism, as I see it is this:

    Major premise: “the priest … is not permitted, on his own initiative, to add, to remove, or to change anything in the celebration of Mass,” (GIRM 24)
    Minor premise: “The maniple is not on the list of vestments that priests or deacons wear during Mass (not listed in GIRM 119 or 335-345).”
    conclusion: the use of the maniple is forbidden


    The error in that syllogism is twofold. In your Major premise, you take from the general noorms of the GIRM the line, which in context refers to the priest as the servant of the liturgy. His role is one of preservation, not innovation. The use of a maniple is not an innovation. The priest is not adding something unknown to the liturgy. The GIRM similarly does not speak of electric lighting, sound amplification, the priest wearing underwear, the ushers using baskets to take up the collection, old ladies using walkers, or the use of spectacles by the nearsighted – are such things similarly to be seen as illicit innovations?
    Secondly, in your minor premise, you mention that the maniple is not on the list of vestments listed in the General Instruction. The canonical principle at work here is “quod non prohibitur expliciter, licet” – that which is not explicitly forbidden is permitted. With the Pauline Reform of the liturgy and ecclesiastical ceremony, a good deal was explicitly forbidden – e.g. the use a humeral veil by a subdeacon at Mass, the silver buckles on Cardinals shoes, the use of pontificals by supernumerary Protonotaries Apostolic. Much else was simply rendered optional – the use of the biretta or headcovering for the priest at Mass, the use of a bugia for a bishop, the use of a cope during the Asperges, and yes, the use of the maniple.

    As I pointed out to you last August in a similar discussion at Amy Welborn’s site, when Cardinal Arinze, prefect of the CDWDS, was asked if a priest could wear a maniple at Mass, he responded with a smile, “why not?” (http://amywelborn.typepad.com/openbook/2005/08/for_everything_.html)
    That may be anecdotal, and you’re more than welcome to write to the CDWDS (despite your apparent loathing of mere laypeople seeking answers to questions in Rome) and ask for an interpretation.

    Bishops have celebrated Mass at St. Agnes using maniples and have been present at Masses when other priests have done so (I’m not sure if the current Archbishop has done so, Fr. John?) AS moderator of the liturgy, the Archbishop would certainly have the right to stamp out the rampant abuse of 12 inches of silk or damask, which confounds the “Spirit of Vatican II”, makes nuns cry and inhibits the participatio actuosa of the faithful. Since Redemptionis sacramentum authorizes and encourages the faithful to raise to their proper pastors issues of liturgical abuse they witness, I think it incumbent upon you, who think this a most dastardly abuse, to report those renegade clerics to their archbishop and to the Congregation.

    Again, what, praytell, is an Angelicaist?

  20. Anonymous says:

    An early comment said: “Then the priest says “The peace of the Lord be with you always.” And the people respond (inaccurately), “And also with you.”

    What is the correct response? (I’m new to the church)

  21. Argent says:

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing, Fr.

  22. RP Burke says:


    You assert without demonstrating. And in fact you are inconsistent here, since you argue a canonical principle that is directly contradicted by the GIRM.

    And your counterexamples are absurd. Compared to them, the vesture of the priest is central, and it has a semiotic value that his underwear does not. And since a priest cannot add anything on his own volition — unless, of course, your canonical principle obliterates GIRM’s decree and makes it a dead letter, sort of in the way that running to mommy has gotten scrupes and holier-than-thous permission to kneel when their bishop instructs them to stand to honor the principle, also explicitly stated in the new GIRM, that there should be a common posture for the congregation — the priest can’t add a vestment like the maniple.

    This has nothing to do with the ephemeral “Spirit of Vatican II,” but with direct statements in the church’s official instructions for the celebration of Mass. You may not like it, but that is how it is.

    An Angelicaist believes “All things were better the way I think I remember (or that others told me they think they remember) the way we used to do them.” Hasn’t yet been formally named a heresy, but just wait. Named for the founder of the cable TV channel.

  23. RP Burke says:

    Henry, here is the complete text from the new GIRM about the sign of peace:

    The Rite of Peace

    82. The Rite of Peace follows, by which the Church asks for peace and unity for herself and for the whole human family, and the faithful express to each other their ecclesial communion and mutual charity before communicating in the Sacrament.

    As for the sign of peace to be given, the manner is to be established by Conferences of Bishops in accordance with the culture and customs of the peoples. It is, however, appropriate that each person offer the sign of peace only to those who are nearest and in a sober manner.

    Where does it say that the Sign of Peace is optional?

  24. Tim Ferguson says:

    Okay, lets take another tack and look at another vestment not mentioned in the GIRM, the elusive rationale. Granted, it’s only worn by four bishops in the world (their Excellencies of Cracow, Paderborn, Eichstatt and Toul). It’s not mentioned in the GIRM, yet these bishops wear it with apparently flagrant disregard for the law. Why even the late Holy Father wore it when he was bishop of Cracow! What’s the explanation? How can this flagrant abuse be tolerated?

    Simple. They are not “adding” something new to the liturgy, they are preserving something – a custom if you will – perfectly in keeping with the liturgy. Why has no letter been issued by the CDWDS condemning this abuse? Because it is not an abuse. It is not, as you stated earlier similar to laypeople preaching homilies.

    And again, if you think it an abuse – you have the right, I’d daresay the obligation, to report the malefactors to their appropriate hierarchical superiors for discipline. Why haven’t you done so? Again, simple. Even you know that the response given will not be what you want to hear. The response will be what Cardinal Arinze has already said – a simple laugh, and a “why not?”

    Your dismissal of those faithful who have exerted their legitimate right to hierarchical recourse when they disagree with their bishops has the smell of sour grapes. Is it because their “whining” has gotten them vindication, while the “whining” of your camp has not gotten deaconesses, lay preachers and tutu clad dancers? (and once again, I hold up St. Agnes as a counter example – if half of the letters and exhortations had been issued decrying the use of maniples in the Missa Normativa as have been written banning lay homilists and inappropriate liturgical dance, the clergy and people of St. Agnes would have had a bonefire of maniples years ago. There is simply no comparison). You’re really hung up on the fact that people can ask questions and can vindicate their rights if they feel them violated. I’d suggest a nice walk to get some fresh air and a focus a little bit on real problems, not whether Mabel and Fred are kneeling in the back row…

    Nice attempt at creating a heresy. You might be more successful naming one after a heretic though. And pronouncability is essential if you want it to catch on (see Arianism, Jansenism, Monophysitism – okay, that last one’s a bad example). So far, there are two instances of “Angelicaist” listed by google on the internet – both posted by RP Burke; “Angelicaists” fares better, with four mentions (three by RP Burke, one responding to him); “Angelicaism” has six postings – two by Burke, one in response, one referring to an entirely different heresy (you might want to sue for copywright), and two from an MSN name generator. Yup, it’s catching on. You’re a regular PJ O’Rourke.

    Henry already pointed out that the sign of peace is not optional. The sharing of the sign of peace from congregant to congregant, one manner of offering the sign of peace IS optional, as noted by the GIRM’s use of the phrase “pro opportunitate” in the rubrics on the priest or deacon inviting this optional extension of the sign of peace. Not a difficult concept to grasp.

  25. Henry Edwards says:

    And the people respond (inaccurately), “And also with you.”

    What is the correct response? (I’m new to the church)

    The response in the official Latin missal is

    Et cum spirito tuo.
    And with your spirit.

    (The 1973 ICEL sought generally to delete references to spirit, soul, etc. from the Mass.) Unless certain perfidious U.S. bishops succeed in their current attempt to eviscerate the new more accurate English translation that the (thankfully) reconstituted ICEL has prepared, this is what we will say at Mass presently. Along with

    Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum:
    sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea.

    Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof,
    but only say the word and my soul will be healed.

    (tectum is “roof”, and anima is “soul”.) ICEL 1973 not only eliminated the soul, but also the beautiful biblical allusion to the centurion’s reply to our Lord.

  26. Arvin says:

    Where does it say that the Sign of Peace is optional?

    Nice try. Selectively quoting the GIRM (or in Latin IGMR) smacks too much of Protestant “proof-texting” from the Bible. If you read the GIRM as a whole, you’ll see that the Pax is still optional.

    154. Deinde sacerdos, manibus extensis, clara voce dicit orationem Dómine Iesu Christe, qui dixísti; eaque conclusa, extendens et iungens manus, pacem annuntiat, versus ad populum, dicens: Pax Dómini sit semper vobíscum. Populus respondet: Et cum spíritu tuo. Postea, pro opportunitate, sacerdos subiungit: Offérte vobis pacem. [Emphasis mine.]

    Sacerdos pacem potest dare ministris, semper tamen intra presbyterium remanens, ne celebratio turbetur. Item faciat si e rationabili causa aliquibus paucis fidelibus pacem dare velit. Omnes vero, iuxta ea quae a Conferentia Episcoporum statuta sunt, pacem, communionem et caritatem sibi invicem significant. Dum pax datur, dici potest: Pax Dómini sit semper tecum, cui respondetur: Amen.

    154. Then the priest, with hands extended, in a clear voice says the prayer Lord Jesus Christ, Who said; and when that prayer is concluded, extending and joining his hands, he announces the peace, turned toward the people, saying: The peace of the Lord be always with you. The people respond: And with your spirit. Afterward, if appropriate, he adds Postea, pro opportunitate, the priest adds: Offer one another the peace. [Emphasis mine.]

    The priest may give the peace to the ministers, but always remaining within the sanctuary, lest the celebration be disturbed. Likewise, he may give the peace to a few of the faithful, if he wishes, for a reasonable reason. However, all signify peace, communion and charity to one another according to the regulations set up by the Episcopal Conference. While the peace is being given, The peace of the Lord be with you always, may be said, to which the response is, Amen.

    A couple of points: the phrase pro opportunitate appears in the new GIRM, just as it did in the old, indicating that it’s still up the celebrant whether or not to have the people offer the peace. Also, the rubrics formerly indicated that the deacon said the line, “Offerte vobis pacem.” I don’t have the new Missale Romanum in front of me, but I imagine that it may still indicate that the deacon, if he’s present, should say that line. I imagine, too, that the pro opportunitate is there, too.

    So are these references in conflict with one another? The obvious answer is no. The rubrics in the text of the Missl clarify those in the GIRM. The rubrics listed later in the GIRM clarify those that came before. Please don’t take isolated quotes from one part of a whole and say that that “proves” whatever point you’re trying to make. Again, nice try.

    As for maniples, I have no problem with them. I’d agree that they fall into the same category as, say, the rationale mentioned by Mr. Ferguson. The only way to absolutely clarify this would be to send a dubium to the Congregation for Divine Worship.

  27. Gretchen says:

    I’m struggling not to feel envious of those lucky enough to have
    attended Holy Week at St. Agnes. At my parish, we had to put up
    with women representing the apostles for the washing of the feet. Then
    we were subjected to the additional indignity on Good Friday of
    having the reading of the Gospel interrupted three times by the choir
    singing verses from “Were you there when they crucified our Lord.”
    We were told in advance that this would ‘enhance our experience’
    of the Gospel. Finally, at the Easter vigil service, all of the
    readings were read by the lectors from the pews, not from the ambo,
    and were accompanied by ‘background music’ played on an electronic
    keyboard and we did not sing the responsorial psalms from the liturgy
    but rather whatever Haugen/Haas composition the choir director best
    felt suited the ‘mood’ of the reading.
    What’s a person to do? This stuff just isn’t right, but how do I bring it
    up? I find it really hard to believe that I’m the only one who
    is troubled by this. Should I say anything, or would I be better
    off joining a more traditional parish?

  28. Timothy Humphries says:

    I am surprised that, in the context of the use of the maniple in the Novus Ordo, no noe has mentioned the use of the burse. Wherever the chalice veil is still used, the burse seems to have been retained. And yet it is no longer mentioned in the GIRM. Does anyone make a fuss of this? Of course not. Should anyone make a fuss over using the maniple? I don’t think so.

    One thing I have noted in these photos is the raising of the chasuble at the elevations. Was not this beautiful practice suppressed in the reform of 1965?

  29. RP Burke says:

    Look, enough bandwidth about maniples — we don’t agree and I am not going to run to mommy.

    Now Gretchen’s Easter Vigil had problems. Real problems. Gretchen, here is the response you will get when you complain to the music director about “Haugen/Haas” or the songs interrupting the passion, or to the pastor or perhaps lay liturgist on readings from the pews or background musical goo:

    “That’s YOUR personal taste.”

    The point of this likely retort is to try to make you feel small and irrelevant, and to end the conversation right there with no acknowledgement of your comments at all.

    I’d suggest you pick ONE thing that try to address that. There is far less justification choosing Haugen/Haas over the appointed psalms over everything else you say — given that some US dioceses even have permission for having women’s feet washed — so you might start there.

  30. Proklos: You wrote: “The only problem I have with all this is that St. Agnes follows the novus ordo. They maintain the traditional music of the mass it is true. But the novus ordo intended to get rid of this music.”

    Nope. Sorry. The reforms of the Second Vatican Council opened up the Church’s treasury of sacred music in a way that was not possible before. All the old forms of sacred music are also perfectly acceptable for Mass with the Novus Ordo.


  31. Tim Ferguson says:

    We agree…sort of…first, on maniples, we seem to agree there’s a disagreement. Since doubtful laws do not bind, then any supposed “law” banning maniples has no effect.

    Secondly, Gretchen, you should approach your pastor with your concerns – calmly and in a rational manner. But don’t get your hopes up that your concerns will be greeted with anything other than scorn. They most likely will try to dismiss you and your concerns – after all, they’re the ones with degrees in theology and liturgy. Don’t let it get you down, and don’t let it stop you. You have a right to have your concerns heard. If the response you get from the parish is not satisfactory, the next step is writing to your bishop (cc your pastor and the diocesan liturgy office as well). If his response is not satisfactory, you also have the right to address your concerns to the Congregation for Sacraments and Divine Worship in Rome. Despite the fact that RP considers this “crying to Momma,” it is our right as members of this Church, and it’s the way things work in a hierarchical Church.

    The option of finding a more traditional parish is also open to you. Canonically, you are a member of your geographic parish, but you have no obligation to attend Mass there. Since bishops, pastors and diocesan officials tend to view things in terms of finances, if the more traditional parishes are the ones with growing registrations and growing ability to contribute to diocesan collections, the message will get through.

    In the meantime, offer up your frustrations and pray for the pastor, musicians, liturgists and others who foist this version of liturgy on you and so many others.

  32. mtober27 says:

    It is all this uncertainty with the post-conciliar liturgical rules, in what they say, or
    don’t say that makes it obvious that the Church needs to be more specific. It seems odd to me
    that common lay people have to try to figure out whether or not Father should wear the maniple,
    use the burse, do the sign of peace, etc. I agree that the Novus Ordo by its essence is an
    inferior rite compared to the Classical Roman Rite as codified by Pope St. Pius V. It is a
    a liturgical innovation that does not bear a distinct relationship with the whole of liturgical
    Tradition East or West. It may bear resemblences in some of its formality – but regardless,
    it was concocted by Annibale Bugnini who had motives not consistent with reforming the Roman Rite
    that has grown organically throughout the ages. I firmly believe we will not see true renewal
    in the Church until the Church finally sees the inadequacey of the Novus Ordo.

  33. M O'Connor says:

    Regarding Gretchen’s Triduum nightmare, please know that there are many who feel as you do. As a church musician who is always ready to offer real reasons why so much of the music that has entrenched itself in the majority of American parishes is not only inappropriate for the sacred space that it inhabits, but also theologically troubling at times. The best thing you can do is sit down with your music director and calmly ASK him or her (I’m guessing a baby boomer woman, but that’s only from my own experiences!) to explain to you why those things occurred the way they did. Take notes and then go home and do your homework about the proper liturgy. If your parish has a liturgy committee you can ask to speak with them about what went on. They will feel threatened because they KNOW that they have overstepped their authority, but they need to know that someone noticed. You won’t get anything changed until a new priest comes to town, but maybe someone will get nervous enough to THINK before doing this sort of nonsense again. Also, when the post for music director comes up again, ask to be on the search committee.

    The liturgy is a beautiful thing in itself. When done properly there is no need to add things or to “spice it up”. I’m dumbfounded when I hear about shaking things up to attract more people. WHO are you trying to attract? Not Catholics, I think.

    M. O’Connor

  34. Vince Shiely says:

    My two children, my niece and I attended Holy Saturday at St. Agnes. I will tell you that my teenage children enjoyed it the most. There is hope! They are both Latin students and all cell phone conversations after the service was over was about how great it was.

    The next day, when they told other local St. Paul relatives where they had gone for Easter services, all they heard was: “You went where? Why?”

    We were also told, “You know they don’t have permission from the Bishop to do what they do.”

    Well, we enjoyed it much more than our craptacular “Catholic” church in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

    Happy Easter to all!


  35. Henry Edwards says:

    Canonically, you are a member of your geographic parish

    I have occasionally seen it claimed that this former “residential parish” requirement was deleted in the 1983 revision of the code of canon law. And I have not spotted such a canon in my own copy, though admittedly I have not scoured it cover to cover.

    But as a practical matter, I know there’s no problem here. Several times in the past couple of decades I have voted with my feet on liturgical matters — with the full knowledge of the pertinent authorities — and the one constant I’ve observed is an apparent happiness with each Catholic attending the parish to which he can donate the most comfortably.

  36. Tim Ferguson says:

    Henry, the 1983 removed the obligation of the faithful to attend their geographic parish, but retained the geographic nature of a parish. The shift in emphasis (not yet realized, in my opinion) is from the people’s obligation to attend and support their local parish to the parish’s and especially the pastor’s obligation to care for the souls within his parish. The pastor should have particular solicitude, not only for those who come to worship in the church on Sunday, but for all the faithful – and all the non-Catholics – within his parish boundaries.

    Some pertinent canons: 518 As a general rule a parish is to be territorial, that is it embraces all the Christian faithful within a certain territory; whenever it is judged useful, however, personal parishes are to be established based upon rite, language, the nationality fo the Christian faithful within some territory or even upon some other determining factor.

    528 The pastor is obliged to see to it that the word of God in its entirety is announced to those living in the parish; for this reason, he is to see to it that the lay Christian faithful are instructed in the truths of the faith, especially through the homily which is to be given on Sundays and holy days of obligation and through the catechetical formation which he is to give. he is to foster works by which the spirit of the gospel, including issues involving soccial justice, is promoted; he is to take special care for the Catholic education of children and of young adults; he is to make every effort with the aid of the Christian faithful to bring the gospel message also to those who have ceased practicing their religion or who do not profess the true faith.

    529 In order to fulfill his office in earnest, the pastor should strive to come to know the faithful who have been entrusted to his care. Therefore he is to visit families, sharing the cares, worries, and especially the griefs of the faithful, strengthening them in the Lord and correcting them prudently if they are wanting in certain areas etc.

    God grant us more of the pastors the Code calls for!!

  37. Chris says:

    Where does one get the Latin text of the new GIRM?

  38. Tim Ferguson says:

    The inimitable EWTN has it posted on the web in HTML format: http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/cdwlgrm.htm
    and the USCCB has it posted in PDF format at:

    The English version that the USCCB has posted (http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/current/revmissalisromanien.shtml) includes the adaptions approved in the United States.

  39. Gretchen says:

    Thanks for your comments/responses. I really am torn about bringing this up or keeping my mouth shut. The pastor of my parish really is a sweet man whose love of God and the Church is apparent. I don’t think that he’s intentionally misleading anyone . Of course, if that’s true, then it means that he doesn’t know better and that raises the issue of who am I to tell him otherwise. That “who am I” in my case is particularly relevant because “who I am” is someone who strayed from the Church for the better part of her adult life and only came back into the fold, by the great grace and mercy of God, three years ago — and it was my pastor who was there to welcome me back.
    I will take the advice of praying about this –

  40. People have the right to have Mass celebrated as it ought to be, according to the rubrics. They have the right to express themselves about their desires and aspirations. They have the right to express concerns when they see things are not going well. All must be done with charity and with respect. If a person is not sure about something, he should not assume automatically it is wrong, but should try to inform himself first.


  41. Paddy says:

    It’s a shame that progressvies hi-jacked the Church through Vatican II and the NO. Vatican II was a challenge to get Catholics away from objective Catholicism, to not shut ourselves off from the world but to make us live a fuller Christian life. To strive for Church unity, but not at the expense of the Divine Truth or Sacred Trdition. But liberals saw this a a start from scratch. So they took away our doctrines, language, music, and tradions and turned them into novelty. They saw the Councils of Nicea, Vatican I and Trent as irrelevant adn medi-eval. People will say celibacy is the reason for the miniscule amount of semenarians and young priests. But, he real reason is there is nothing transcendant about the Faith anymore, not to mention that the the Eucharist can be recieved in-hand and by laity. these things deter fine, young, masculine men from the priesthood.

  42. Diane says:

    Excellent pics, as usual Fr. Z. I know you to be a pretty good photog yourself, but it seems St. Agnes has at least one other great photographer (unless you are capable of bi-locating). :D

    Fr. Z – Is flash used at all during Holy Mass?

    I have not posted my Holy Week Photos to my blog yet, but they are cropping up in various other blogs. I’ll have to upload a few soon of the Mass at Asusmption Grotto.

    Keep checking my blog and I’ll try to drop a few up daily.

  43. RP Burke says:

    Tim, that is really delicious. To the conservative interpretation of the black letter of GIRM, you cook up a series of spurious counterarguments, call them “doubts” then say a doubtful law does not bind. A beautiful circular argument.

  44. Olivier B. says:

    Was the liturgy in Tridentine Latin Mass or in Novus Ordo Latin Missae (Vatican II)?
    Pax Vobiscum!!!

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